UK immigration are to open their ePassport gates to selected Passport holders from Summer 2019. This will allow certain citizens to access the e-gates at airports in the United Kingdom, currently only available to people from the UK and EU.
Finally, there is some good news from the whole Brexit debacle, though it’s only going to be good news for countries outside of the UK and Europe. This is definitely a political decision to show that Great Britain will be open for business in the future.
Who Will UK Immigration Give Access To?
The Australians are already rejoicing with the Australian High Commission in London tweeting the news earlier today. As an Australian, I remember with much hatred the two hour queue at Passport control when I first entered the UK in 2005. Not fun after a 13 hour flight!
Our 🇦🇺 High Commissioner George Brandis warmly welcomes the #Budget2018 announcement by @hmtreasury @PhilipHammondUK that Aussie passport holders will soon be able to use UK ePassport gates – we've been working towards this for some time so it is great to see it announced. ✈️ pic.twitter.com/o6Ivj5dfct
— Aus. High Commission (@AusHouseLondon) October 29, 2018
Other countries on the UK Immigration friends list will be New Zealand – which usually comes in a package deal with Australia – the United States, Canada and Japan.
What Does It Mean?
Passengers arriving in the UK and using the electronic Passport gates have vastly reduced queues compared to other foreign nationals. This means that citizens of Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and Japan will also be able to take advantage of this.
These people also don’t need to complete landing cards, which is an additional annoyance removed from the equation. Hopefully this will also extend to the new countries.
Apart from moving house, my next most despised task is waiting in a queue at immigration after a long flight. It is truly one of the worst things in the world. Any way this can be reduced or avoided is fine with me.
When I became a citizen of the EU, my travel times improved remarkably, as I was no longer using my Australian Passport on the continent. Streamlining this part of the process should be high on the agenda now we have the technology to do it.
What do you think of this announcement? Will it make a difference to you? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Toby Melville, Reuters, via ABC News in Australia.